Justice For All

Atheists have our own ideas about what is just and what is unjust.  This group will explore the elusive concept of justice.  Topics include racial injustice, death penalty, imprisonment, crime, and other aspects of justice in modern society and in history.  Without gods, what is the basis for justice?  What do humanists and others say about justice?  What do you think about current controversies and cases regarding justice or injustice?

Members: 43
Latest Activity: Dec 11, 2016


Troy Davis's photo was chosen as this original icon for this group.  Davis symbolized inequality of justice in the US.  At the time of his execution, 9/21/11, the evidence supporting his conviction was flimsy.  There was known evidence supporting his innocence.  He was executed anyway. Since then the icon is changed to represent justice in general.


There are different nontheist points of view about justice, punishment, penalties, death penalty.   There is strong support for retribution and execution in the theist community (in the US).


What serves as "justice" is not distributed evenly across communities.  The most egregious injustice has strong racial overtones.  If you would like to read about, and discuss justice, what it is, who gets justice, and who doesn't, and stories relevant to this topic, please join and contribute to the discussions.


Resources  factsheet.  main page  executed possibly innocent

amnestyUSA death penalty information

death row population (CNN)  sept 2011.

innocence project.  The innocent and the death penalty.

innocence project Wikipedia discussion

California innocence project

Chicago innocence project

Georgia innocence project


Discussion Forum

Discovery Process Hurts You

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by tom sarbeck Dec 11, 2016. 1 Reply

Private Prisons Evade Taxes

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Nov 26, 2016. 0 Replies

Debtors Prison for Kids

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Joan Denoo Sep 23, 2016. 7 Replies

Your DNA could be found on a weapon you never touched

Started by Grinning Cat. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Nov 4, 2015. 7 Replies

Climate Change hinders prison reform in CA

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Donald R Barbera Oct 22, 2015. 1 Reply

In the US, victims pay corporate criminals through taxes

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Oct 15, 2015. 2 Replies

Justice for the elderly - hah

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Apr 19, 2015. 0 Replies

On Burying the Torture Report

Started by Bertold Brautigan. Last reply by Daniel W Dec 9, 2014. 3 Replies

Black Panic

Started by Daniel W. Last reply by kathy: ky Sep 4, 2014. 7 Replies

RSS for ThinkProgress/Justice

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Comment Wall


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Comment by Luara on April 15, 2014 at 7:27am

I don't understand the idea that the family of a murder victim deserves to have the murderer suffer. 

Normally we don't endorse bloodthirst, but some people make a big exception for the family of a murder victim. 

If it's healing for the family to see the murderer suffer and die, would burning them at the stake or having them drawn and quartered, be even more healing?? 

Many people want someone else to suffer, but how does somebody need to see someone else suffer? 

So justice as retribution doesn't make much sense to me. 

Comment by Luara on April 15, 2014 at 7:15am

I started a discussion on wrongful convictions and the death penalty

There was an excellent article in The Atlantic magazine on the likelihood of executing innocent people in the USA, and the terrible flaws in our justice system. It's full of outrage, and the author makes many chilling points:

Since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty, in 1976, more than eighty death-row inmates have been freed from prison, their convictions overturned by evidence of innocence. That may not sound like many, given the huge U.S. prison population, but it is more than one percent of the 6,000 men and women who were sentenced to death in that same period, and equal to almost 15 percent of those actually executed.

Probably many more of the death-row inmates are actually innocent, but don't have the strong evidence of innocence required to vacate their convictions. 

A 1996 Justice Department report, Convicted by Juries, Exonerated by Science: Case Studies in the Use of DNA Evidence to Establish Innocence After Trial, found that in 8,048 rape and rape-and-murder cases referred to the FBI crime lab from 1988 to mid-1995, a staggering 2,012 of the primary suspects were exonerated owing to DNA evidence alone.

There is no logical reason to think that police-error rates in criminal investigations lacking DNA evidence are any better than the 25 percent error rate in those where it is present.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on April 15, 2014 at 5:00am

I have replied to this before, but I've had more time to think about it. As you probably know Texas is the leader in executions since the death penalty was reinstated. What you may or may not know is Texas is also the leader in exonerations of prisoners on death row. In the long forgotten Presidential debates that the Governor Texas, Republican Rick Perry, gushed with pride at the number of executions the state shot up. When more than 30 prisoners are exonerated, I think that I would have second thoughts about it, especially since Texas ranks among the top ten in murder. Apparently, the effect of the death penalty has had little effect in deterring crime. With more than 30 prisoners exonerated I would at least wonder of the nearly 800 executed how many were innocent of the crime that put them on death row. In Illinois, a Republican Governor put all executions on hold after a single death row prisoner was wrongly accused. He called the death penalty a "crap shoot." Personally, I think the death penalty is any easy way out for the state as far as doing the leg work to get it right and even then they could be wrong. However, the major difference in abolishing the death penalty is that you can release a live prisoner wrongly accused, but as far as I know no one in recorded history has risen from the dead.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on April 14, 2014 at 6:44pm

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on April 14, 2014 at 6:43pm

Comment by Daniel W on January 28, 2014 at 8:32pm
Don I will look forward to it. I always learn from you.
This is an area where I think I am out of touch with most Americans. So strange to ne we kill people because killing people is wrong.
I also wonder - with doctor assisted suicide thought to give a painless and quick way out, if we are going to have state mandated killing, why is it so hard to make that quick and painless? Ditto, we euthanize our beloved pets. I hope that is gentle and loving.
Will see what you have to say, and respect your opinion regardless of whether we agree.
Comment by Donald R Barbera on January 28, 2014 at 6:25pm

Sentient--I'm going to post a section from one of my books regarding the death penalty and its efficacy.


Comment by Daniel W on January 28, 2014 at 6:12pm

With shortages of chemical for lethal injection, some states are moving to bring back firing squad, gas chamber, and / or electric chair.

Holy Jesus W. Christ. What are we coming to?

What next, guillotine? Might be faster and less painful than the "traditional" methods, but kind of gross. Hangings? I hope not.

My bias is just stop killing people. Making the method more grizzly is not going to deter crime. There is no evidence anywhere that death penalty results in a just and humane society, or reduces criminal activity. And as for the innocent who are executed.... lets make it even worse torture? Really?

Well, I guess that reveals my thoughts. :-)

Comment by Daniel W on November 20, 2013 at 6:18pm

Missouri executed Joseph Paul Franklin today.

Franklin was a serial killer and a white supremacist who liked murdering Jews and interracial couples.  He was convicted of 7 murders and claimed to have murdered 20.

His last killings were in 1980.  Two young black men.

Franklin was the shooter responsible for shooting Hustler publisher Larry Flint, resulting in permanent paralysis.

Franklin was considered mentally ill, a paranoid schizophrenic.

This was the first single-drug execution, using pentoparbital.

Larry Flint was against Franklin's execution.

People like Franklin make it hard to argue against the death penalty.  But the death sentence could net be considered a deterrent in this case.  Is it a punishment for the crimes?  Or just a removal of this person from society, like pulling weeds?

Comment by Daniel W on November 20, 2013 at 4:49pm

A little more perspective, same theme.


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